Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
Keoladeo Ghana National Park, more popular as the Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary has one of the most prolific avian populations in the country. Two-thirds of the Park remains under water and the remaining one-third is covered in dry deciduous forests and extensive grasslands.
Bharatpur can be called the kingdom of Avian fauna in India with more than 400 bird species already spotted. If your luck permits it is not too tough to spot 50 to 100 species in a day. Travellers during the winter season can expect a sudden (though most unlikely as the last sighting was in the year 2002) encounter with the elusive Siberian Crane wintering here. The fact remains that Bharatpur is one of the only two known wintering haunts of Siberian Crane.
Wiildlife Attractions in Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary
Over 350 species of birds find a refuge in the 29 sq-km of shallow lakes and woodland, which make up the park. A third of them are migrants, many of whom spend their winters in Bharatpur, before returning to their breeding grounds, as far away as Siberia and Central Asia. Migratory birds at Keoladeo include, as large a bird as Dalmatian pelican, which is slightly less than two meters, and as small a bird as Siberian disky leaf warbler, which is the size of a finger. Other migrants include several species of cranes, pelicans, geese, ducks, eagles, hawks, shanks, stints, wagtails, warblers, wheatears, flycatchers, buntings, larks and pipits, etc.
Attracted by the influx of the water fowl, the predatory birds - tawny eagles, spotted eagles short-toed eagles, imperial eagles and fishing eagle also arrive. Common Kingfisher, Colourful Kingfishers, graceful pelicans, rare Siberian cranes and trans-continental fliers like the migratory water-fowl are amongst the 400 species of birds found in the Keoladeo National Park. The most spectacular nests are those of the egrets, storks, herons and cormorants which make over 10,000 nests every year. They all form the apex of the biological pyramid of the sanctuary and complete the avian food chain of the ecosystem. There are large herds of the nilgai, chital, wild boar and fear cows in addition to a few herds of sambar. Some of the unique attractions of the park include....
Siberian Cranes are a highly specialised member of the crane family in terms of habitat, morphology and behaviour. Being omnivorous they eat a wide variety of food items including cranberries, rodents, fish and insects. The threat to the wintering habitats of these species caused due to the growing human population has put a serious questionmark on the existense of these rare birds in India.
The story of Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary is incomplete without an account of the migratory waterfowl. The most prominent water fowl coming to this park are bareheaded and greylag geese. Ducks also create a lot of fluttering in the lakes. The ducks usually found here are pintail, widgeon, common shelduck, shoveler, garganey, teal, mallard pochard etc.
White Breasted Kingfisher
The beautiful amalgam of colors as if painted extremely carefully by nature with a brilliant turquoise blue body, a chocolate brown head and neck, a long red pecker and a white front are sure to draw curious glances from on lookers. The main delicacies on its menu include fish, tadpoles, grasshoppers, lizards and other small insects.